Mar 28, 2013

A West Memphis Courtroom and a Wild Story

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Michael Moore, Stevie Branch, & Christopher Byers

Pam Hicks (formerly Hobbs) would like to see the evidence pertaining to her son Stevie Branch's murder.

Pam Hicks, the mother of Stevie Branch, wants to examine some of the items that belonged to her son and were found at the murder scene.

Hicks previously told us, “I do want to know that it has not been contaminated if they need it, if something [were] to come out of this,” said Hicks. “I definitely don’t want to touch it. I just want to have a peace of mind and ease of knowing that they still have it.”

Police Chief Donald Oakes says they still have it, all of it, and most of it is sealed.

Hicks's attorney Ken Swindle put forward four new possible suspects in the murders for which the West Memphis Three spent their youths in an Arkansas prison. Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley were released in August of 2011 on an Alford Plea but are still considered convicted murderers by the state of Arkansas.

Two of the suspects have been discussed previously due to hairs consistent with their DNA being found at the crime scene: Terry Hobbs and his friend David Jacoby. Inconsistencies in Hobbs's story have also raised enough concern that even his former wife, Hicks, has previously raised suspicions.

The two additional suspects are Buddy Lucas and L.G. Hollingsworth and this is where the story starts to become surreal. According to sworn affidavits from Bennie Guy and Billy Stewart, Lucas confessed to them that he and the other three men murdered Stevie Branch, Christopher Byers, and Michael Moore. Lucas and Hollingsworth were teens at the time and involved in a drug-fueled, homoerotic escapade with the older men when they noticed the three children observing them.

According to Guy, he convinced Hollingsworth to admit his guilt and share details. Guy said that Hollingsworth told him that he and Lucas had been walking in Lakeshore Trailer Park when Hobbs and Jacoby drove up, asking where to buy marijuana.

Lucas and Hollingsworth directed them to Stewart, then went along for the ride. At that point, Stewart tells a similar story, but says that when they drove up to buy weed, he saw Hobbs kiss Jacoby. Stewart added that his son also saw them kissing on a later occasion. He said that a few days after the murders, he also delivered pot, cocaine and crystal meth to Hobbs at a Memphis gay bar called J-Wags.

. . .

According to the affidavits, Lucas said that the quartet drank whiskey, smoked pot and drove around, eventually ending up in the wooded area where the murders took place. Lucas told Stewart that Hobbs and Jacoby made the two teenagers wrestle after they got to the woods.

At that point, both Guy and Stewart say that the boys surprised them by riding up on their bikes. Hobbs ordered them to chase down the boys. Lucas then told Stewart that he and Hollingsworth were forced to hold the boys while Jacoby and Hobbs beat them. They then stripped the bodies, dumped them in the water and hid the bicycles. The bodies were found the next day.

Hollingsworth died in a car accident in 2001 and Lucas has been described as "slow" which might make all of that a little hard to prove.

Judge Victor Hill says he will deliver a verdict on the availability of the evidence on Monday.

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